Month: September 2013
A new collection of Berlin woolwork style doll’s house needlepoint kits has just been launched
If you own a Victorian style twelfth scale doll’s house, then you will love the new needlepoint kits that I have just launched on my website – a large collection of classic Berlin woolwork style carpets and matching accessories, all in a stunningly dramatic black and gold pattern, with a central panel of flowers in deep jewel tones.
I decided to expand the range of Berlin Woolwork kits, as the first three in this range that I brought out earlier in the year (a needlework stand, a handbag, and a firescreen kit) proved to be extremely popular. I love the strong contrast of the shades in the Victorian Berlin woolwork style, so it was great fun to make each type of kit in this range, using lovely bright colours!
There are two sizes of rectangular carpet, plus a staircarpet, to choose from, as well as smaller kits such as a cushion, footstool, chair, teacosy, tray cloth, bellpull, bolster cushion…. lots of goodies to make, all in the high Victorian Berlin woolwork style.
They are all to be stitched using tent stitch (like half cross stitch) – the fabric counts range from 18 canvas (for the carpets), to 32 silk gauze. The carpet kits contain Appletons crewel wool, and all the other kits contain Anchor stranded cotton. The kits have clear instructions, and colour block charts to count the design from. All necessary components are included in the kits, such as the metal bellpull end, or the wooden chair pieces.
Have a look at the What’s New page of my website to see exactly what the range covers. The kits start from £4.75. P&P is £1.75 per order if placed by post (cheques to Janet Granger); p&p online depends on the order total (but it’s free worldwide on orders over £40).
If you are a beginner to mini-stitching and would like to know what making any of these kits actually involves, why not check out the FREE ONLINE TUTORIALS page first? The tutorials guide you through every stage of stitching and finishing each type of kit, with detailed photos to show you exactly what you need to do. You’ll see just how easy they are to make!
Keep an eye out for more new carpet designs (including some Art Deco ones) being launched next month……
Five-sided box 1: my new embroidery project
Now that I’ve finished the Alison Cole stumpwork box, the next project I want to do is a blend of a set of designs from a published book, incorporated into an interestingly shaped five-sided box design that I found online. Unfortunately, in the way of these things, I found the image of the box years ago, and now I don’t know where I found it. But it was a crazy quilting project of some kind, and the box had five curved sides, and a pentagonal lid with a tassel on it.
The motifs that I want to use on the box are from the book ‘Embroidered Flowers for Elizabeth’, by Susan O’Connor, who writes and designs for Inspirations embroidery magazine (published in Australia).
The book features a set of gorgeous designs, put together in panels, to make a blanket embroidered in wools. Although I do love the design of the blanket, I don’t have space in my house for such a large thing, and I want to make something using silks next, not wools. I also want my box to be quite delicate in appearance, and I felt that the bold black and gold of the blanket sort of swamps the flowers, so I won’t be incorporating any of the black and gold elements.
To help me choose which threads to use, the book has a page listing DMC equivalents for each of the shades used for the blanket (as well as Paternayan wool, and Au Ver a Soie silk, too). So, using that as a basis, I chose some DMC and some Anchor threads to do my box in, along with some overdyed threads from Silk ‘n’ Colors from my stash.
It was difficult to choose which five motifs to use, out of all the ones on the original blacket – I had to be very selective! This motif below got rejected, although it was close-run thing 🙂
Here are the threads I eventually chose for all five sides, sorted onto card threadsorters.
I miniaturised the motifs from the book down to the size I needed for my box (about four inches high), and used small versions of the ‘triangular side motifs’ from the blanket for the lid.
This is the shape that the box will be – I’d give a link to the original web page if I could 🙂
[EDIT 14th September 2013: One of the followers of my blog, Carol S, has found where the original image comes from – the page gives instructions for making the box using crazy quilting techniques. She says:
“It’s from CQ Magazine, 2004. Here’s the URL: http://cqmagonline.com/vol03iss04/articles/362/index.shtml ” ]
My first mini quilt is finished
I have spent several weeks, now, making my first mini quilt. This one measures 16 x 20 inches, and by ‘mini’ standards, it’s quite large 🙂 But it’s quite tricky enough for me, considering I haven’t made any mini quilts before. The only quilt I’ve ever made was 35 years ago, when I was 15, and I spent a whole winter hand-stitching a ‘grandmother’s fan’ design for a single bed, then hand quilting it….I ended up getting so bored with doing it, that as soon as it was completed, I gave it away to my cousin.
So, mini quilts seemed more attractive, when I got back into this hobby recently, as I was under the impression that a small quilt might be quicker too do. Maybe.
This design is one from a design pack of nine by Lori Smith of ‘From My Heart to Your Hands’. All the designs are nice, but this one attracted me. I have changed the tonal value placement slightly, but still kept to the basically red tones. (It’s the one on the top right in the image below.)
Considering I felt at times that I didn’t know what I was doing, I am really pleased with how this has come out. The instructions in the leaflet were clear enough, but I am not patient enough to unpick seams when they are ‘off’, and it really shows in the finished quilt.
It’s very squiffy 😛
The points of the stars are often cut off at the tips, for instance. This is because, when I was pairing up the triangles before stitching them, I ‘evened up’ the seam allowances, instead of butting one triangle against the edge that would be fully in the seam allowance, if you see what I mean. Once I realised what was happening, I should have ditched what I had sewn together, re-cut more pieces, and started again – but I couldn’t be bothered, because I wanted to see it finished. So, now I can see it finished for ages…with cut-off points. Hmm. I think I can learn something from this!
Also, if I had made just one block first to check I was doing it right, I could have eliminated some of the problems, but again, no patience! I got all blocks to the same stage before looking at what I was doing, and sometimes what I was doing was daft. However, I’m trying to see this piece as very much a ‘learning project’, not something that I’m going to put on sale, or on display, or anything. OK, so I am showing it to hundreds of people on this blog, but still! And I did really enjoy myself making it.
The fabric was lovely to stitch with – it was from the Fat Quarter Shop, in the USA. I’ve since found a couple of places in the UK to buy reproduction prints from, but these *are* really lovely, if pricey to import to the UK.
This design uses only four fat quarters for the top, and another one for the backing. It was hard to decide which fabric to use for the backing , as I felt I was kind of ‘wasting it’ by putting a good fabric on the reverse of the quilt, but now it’s finished, I’m glad I used a fabric that really tones with the front, rather than just a plain piece of any old kind of cotton that I had as a leftover from something else.
I used Quilters Dream Poly batting, and I think that next time I’ll use 100% cotton – it seemed a bit thick and ‘bouncy’ to quilt through, and several online reviews that I have seen recommend 100% cotton. It cost about £5 for a pack 46 x 36 inches, from cottonpatch.co.uk, so I could get another mini quilt out of the piece if I wanted to.
I loved doing the quilting more than the patchwork. That must be the embroiderer in me, I think! Just sitting with a betweens needle in my hand, doing a simple running stitch for hours was great, and I am getting very tempted to try a wholecloth design next. My quilting stitch is still too large and meandering for my liking, but I’m prepared to work on that.
I encountered two problems with the quilting. One was that I used a pink Clover chalk pencil to transfer the design onto the fabric at first, through a stencil, but I found that the lead kept breaking. So I switched to a ‘dressmaker’s pencil’ instead. Both types are supposed to be able to be washed out afterwards. When the quilt was complete, I hand washed it with Stergene. The pink chalk has come out completely, but in some places, the grey lead of the other pencil still shows a bit. I think, now, that the Stergene has ‘set’ the pencil marks.
The other problem was that I chose a small cable design for the border – on a very busy floral print. Hmm. I have since found out that this is something that beginners often do – they choose a fancy pattern and put it on a fancy fabric, and it hardly shows up at all! But it was fun to do. In the centre of the quilt I just highlighted parts of the design with lines of straight stitching. I couldn’t manage ‘stitching in the ditch’, as I’d pressed all the seam allowances over to one side, so it ended up being quite bulky (pressing the seams open would have been better, but I didn’t plan ahead). So, I stitched ‘near to the ditch’ instead.
In the end, as a first patchwork piece, I am very pleased with how it’s come out, despite the trials I had with it. Several other mini quilts are already being planned, so I can’t have been put off all that much 🙂